Inventor of the Hearing Aid
It may be somewhat difficult to identify the very first inventor of the hearing aid. Hearing aids have been around in various forms for many years, with the first types being non electrical aids made from shells, wood or metal.
The earliest hearing aids are listed in the natural science books that were written in the latter part of the 1500's, the Ear horns and hearing trumpets were more popular during the Industrial Revolution when the increase in technology helped to make such items a valued part of the society for those with the money to spend. Were they considered to be the inventor of the hearing aid?
There were many people who contributed to the science of hearing loss and how to treat it. Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison were both interested in the growing field of treating hearing disorders. They both had experience with hearing loss themselves or had a close family member with the affliction. This of course, gave them added interest and motivation in using their scientific knowledge to solve the problems and become an inventor of the hearing aid.
Werner von Siemens invented a special telephone in 1878 for people that had difficulty with their hearing. In the early 1900s, Siemens had a number of employees and friends who suffered from hearing loss. So in 1910 they introduced their first line of hearing aids and Siemens Hearing was born.
As technology advanced the first solid breakthroughs being made by the modern inventor of the hearing aid, Harvey Fletcher, who was one of the many inventors at Bell Laboratories. The device he created was worn behind the ear. It consisted of a molded device that attached to the ear, with a cord that was attached to a small battery powered device that enabled the hearing aid to amplify the sounds coming into the ear canal. These enabled those affected by profound hearing loss to have some hearing temporarily restored while using this device.
There were others involved in trying to solve the problem of deafness and another early inventor of the hearing aid was Miller Reese Hutchison and J. Wilson of the Akouphone Company. Their device was selling in the 1890's for about $400. Early forms of hearing aids were cumbersome and awkward to use but each advance was eagerly adopted by the public.
Behind the ear devices were manufactured to be more effective, attractive and easy to use for the consumers who bought them. They are made with a case that sits behind the ear, a molded piece that fits inside the ear canal and a small tube that connects both. This hearing aid can be employed to use the sound waves entering the amplifier to be either acoustically or electronically. One of the benefits of this type of hearing aid is that the chance of damage from earwax being deposited on it or moisture shorting out the components is slight.
Due to the nature of these behind the ear devices, they can be modified for specific frequencies or sound levels. This allows for a person with hearing loss in specific areas to be helped in those frequencies while allowing the other sound waves to remain at their normal levels. With the advent of more miniaturized materials being used, the BTE's can be used in younger children with fantastic results in their hearing, speech and learning.
Some hearing aids are made to be implanted inside the ear, which is used in the cases of extreme hearing loss. When implanted in the ear, these aids can enable the wearer to hear frequencies that previously were unintelligible. There is a problem with some feedback of whistling or squealing which is currently being worked on by specialists in hearing aids.
Another modern inventor of hearing aid devices have designed them to fit inside the ear canal with the receiver and connecting wires implanted to connect the receiver and amplifier. These are good for ensuring a smooth frequency and are preferred by many people who want a hearing aid that is very easy to conceal and keep hidden from view. An advantage to this type of aid is that it can fit easily inside the ear and allow the ear canal to remain free from being uncomfortably plugged or obstructed.
Advances in computer technology and the circuitry of small devices like hearing aids being made more powerful and smaller at the same time have led to the aids being programmable and the software inside specialized models being designed for users to have more control. Comparing the newer and more specialized types with other models and designs only a few years older is amazing because the technology is changing so fast.
This in turn is allowing for a refinement in the specific hearing loss problems to be addressed and treated properly. Refinements are also allowing for better hearing when on the cell phone, Blackberry or landline by reducing static, feedback which results in an improvement in clarity. When using a Blackberry device, the sound waves are wirelessly received using a smaller device that can be worn as a necklace or hairpiece. The ability to use the computer technology is also valued by the security forces and military as a way to ensure the best communication they can with the modern devices they have at their disposal.
As technology and medical knowledge advance, there is more opportunity for those with hearing loss to find help and encouragement from the professionals who are working to solve the problems of hearing loss. The inventor of the hearing aid have done a great deal to help change the world for thousands of people of every nationality in learning, growing and becoming adept at functioning better in a world that depends on hearing for communication and survival.
Learning is inexorably intertwined with hearing and the development of speech, language use and expression. This is where the impact of using hearing aids in countries among young children can make a great difference in their lives. The co-operation of speech pathologists, physicians, hearing specialists and inventors of the hearing aid are all working together to make the world with all the varied sounds, tones and frequencies available to everyone they can with the technology they have and are developing.
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